Community development officer Karly Smith spoke at CONVO19 – a Queensland Government forum held in response to recommendations made by its Anti-cyber-bullying Taskforce.
Community development officer Karly Smith spoke at CONVO19 – a Queensland Government forum held in response to recommendations made by its Anti-cyber-bullying Taskforce.

Local youths speak up to combat online hate

KARLY Smith, who faced cyber bullying on a regular basis, has made a stand to say enough is enough.

The 25-year-old community development officer based in Charters Towers said she and many of her friends experienced online hate while at high school but nothing like teenagers do today.

"There's people as young as 10 dealing with this and it's isolating with a lot of lasting impacts," Ms Smith said.

"It's easier for kids to get away with it because they're not held accountable and there's anonymity because they can make fake accounts and not say anything face-to-face.

"If a young person isn't attending school because they don't feel safe it can be detrimental to their future too."

Ms Smith was in Brisbane this week to give a voice to the youth of regional North Queensland at CONVO19 - a State Government forum held in response to 29 recommendations made by its Anti-cyber-bullying Taskforce.

"Being in a rural place we have less services to seek support or resources to put into the schools and I think that makes a big difference for youth in regional areas compared to cities," she said.

"Young people know how to protect themselves and act appropriately online but there needs to be a whole cultural change and that starts in schools and with parents."

Ms Smith said it was good to work with representatives from social media giants Facebook and Instagram as part of a future Queensland Government partnership and media campaign to be launched early next year.

Child Safety, Youth and Women Minister Di Farmer said the event was important to combat cyber bullying.

"A survey conducted by 'yourtown' last year found nearly 60 per cent of the 1256 respondents had experienced online bullying, so it's critical that our young people know how to protect themselves, how to act appropriately."